South Africa is about more than vast savannahs and ferocious wild animals. In fact, those looking for an urban retreat should not look past Cape Town, a majestic city nestled on South Africa's west coast.
Here are four reasons why the Mother City should be on the top of the list for holiday destinations in 2015:
Soak in the view from Table Mountain
Perhaps one of the most famous landmarks in Cape Town is the expansive Table Mountain. Towering over the city, the massive flat-top peak provides more than just a great view to visitors.
While the vista visible from the top is the reward, the journey up and down the mountain can be just as thrilling. For adrenalin junkies, try taking the cable car up and then abseiling part of the way down the cliff face. For a quieter – but longer – trip, strap on your hiking boats for a scenic walk along one of the many trails that wind their way up the mountain.
If you have the time, you can even spend five days along a tented trail for a truly immersive experience to the top of this world-famous peak.
Wander the waterfront
With beaches that rival even Australia's best, the waterfront is a hive of tourist activity in Cape Town. With the stunning Victoria and Alfred Waterfront providing all the creature comforts, this dock area offers gourmet restaurants, markets, historic installations and gorgeous views of the vast expanse of water beyond the boardwalk.
Getting away from the hustle of the city, Cape Town's expansive shoreline has plenty more to offer. From shore-based whale watching and penguin colonies to shark-cage diving, there is plenty to see and do near the water.
Take home some jewels
South Africa has a long history in diamond and gold mining, and Cape Town has launched a number of sparkling activities for visitors to make the most of this industry. Head along to the Cape Town Diamond Museum for a guided tour through the mining process, before popping into Jewel Africa to design your own diamond jewellery.
The piece you create will be ready for you to take home within 24 hours, and while you wait you can follow a torch-light night tour of the Gold of Africa Barbier-Muller Museum – which includes drinking a glass of gold-leaf infused wine!
Wine and design
Speaking of wine, Cape Town is well-known for its place in the arts of the world, and one area in which it excels is wine. Right on the city's backdoor is Constantia Valley, the oldest wine-growing region in South Africa, where you can take a tour on horseback or just enjoy a simple tasting at the world's first Fairtrade certified winery, Thandi.
With stunning art, great food and wine, gorgeous scenery and impressive wildlife, there are many reasons to put Cape Town on your itinerary. And now is the best time to start planning your trip!